The relationship between Finns and money is diplomatically said, a story of its’ own. In general, Finns don’t let their financial status show and money issues are talked only with close friends and immediate family. Some funny things occur with this topic.
Winning in the lottery
It is a national sport to do the national lotto in Finland. The game for a new millionaire is on every Saturday. The lucky winner is the person or group which has chosen 7 same numbers between 1-40 as the ”lotto machine” picks up. It is close to gambling madness, when the first price is near 15 million euros.
Dreaming of the jackpot is something that every Finn can relate to. “What would you do if you won in the lotto?” is a popular question on a first date, as it is regarded as a safe and positive way to find out the values and interests of the other person. I would say that 90% of Finns start their answer by saying that they would pay off their home or student loan.
Entrepreneurs get a lot of jealousy of their alleged money even though their companies bring income to many families, the hard work is most likely 24/7 and the taxation system of Finland supports more a regular employee’s life than that of a self-employed. I believe there is even a study that found out that it is more appreciated to be a lotto millionaire than an entrepreneur in Finland. In my opinion, this envying and grumpy outlook towards entrepreneurship is one of the worst features in our Finnish minds. I hope we can evolve from this prejudice in the future.
Among ourselves, we Finnish women are very careful and precise that nobody owes anybody money. I honestly cannot explain this hilarious, time-consuming and calculator-needing feature of ours. It just feels awful to think that someone would think that I haven’t paid my debts. On the other hand, for some reason we don’t feel the need of rounding up. Thus, I certainly have found myself several times paying to another girl’s bank account the exact 26,70 euros for a joint baby shower or bachelorette gift.
Nobody keeps track of anything moneywise in a group of Finnish men friends. The key is to make everything as easy and fast as possible. They take turns in paying, based on a hunch (Or so it looks to me. I have made a couple of scientific interviews asking this and the men in question have also told that there is no definitive system applied.). And I have to say, somehow this method really works! Everyone is always a standard 200 euros poorer after a boys’ night.
You do not need to tip in Finland, it doesn’t belong in our culture. We expect that everyone’s salary is a topic between the person and their boss. Another thing worth mentioning is that we Finns are spoilt and accustomed to having our restaurant bills however we want; all separate, all together or even in difficult arrangements.
For example, it is totally normal that a group of 8 people would ask their bills like this: A couple (1 bill) + couple & child (1 bill) + family of 4 (1 bill) = 8 people. This is why many waiters in Finland, start the service by asking, how does everybody want their bills.